Mar 01, 2024
The Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) provides a postgraduate credential for individuals who seek personal knowledge development and whose careers would be enhanced by a formal course of graduate study, but who prefer an interdisciplinary approach. The program is a viable alternative for educators seeking professional development and for meeting state license renewal requirements. In sum, the program provides an opportunity for individuals from a variety of careers to acquire graduate-level skills and knowledge from the perspective of several academic disciplines. The program could be an appropriate step toward further degree work in doctoral interdisciplinary programs, as well as traditional doctorates that prefer interdisciplinary master’s work.
To be considered for admission to the MALS program, the applicant must submit:
- an application to Graduate Studies;
- a $40 non-refundable application fee; and
- one official transcript from each undergraduate and graduate institution attended. Transcripts and other educational records are official if the issuing institution sends them directly to the Office of Graduate Studies. Failure to submit official transcripts from every institution will delay admission. Course work from one institution reported as transfer credit on another school’s transcript does not constitute an official transcript.
In addition to the regular requirements for admission to graduate study at USI, admission to the MALS program requires the following:
- a resume;
- a written statement of candidate interest (500 words);
- recommendations by three individuals who know the candidate well (recommendation forms are available on the MALS web site); and
- an interview with the MALS director.
Because of the interdisciplinary, nontraditional nature of the program, the GRE exams are not required. Students should submit the application, application fee, and official transcripts to the Office of Graduate Studies and other material to the MALS director at least one month prior to the entry date sought. An interview will be arranged after all other materials are on file.
The MALS program allows students to apply for the program and begin classes in any semester.
Curriculum (33 hours)
The Master of Arts in Liberal Studies degree requires 33 credit hours of graduate-level work.
1. Core Courses (12 hours)
2. Individual program of courses (18 hours) (with advising and approval of director)
3. Capstone Experience (3-6 hours)
Capstone Project (Option 1)—
Capstone Courses (Option 2)—
The core courses are required of all students. The Capstone Experience part of the program has two options. Students must maintain a grade average of B (3.0) or better in the program. At least three of the four core courses must be completed with final grades of B or better. No course with a grade lower than C (2.0) will be counted toward the degree.
Core Courses (12 hours)
Each core course emphasizes the analysis of a major liberal arts and sciences topic or theme from an interdisciplinary perspective. The rigor of this analysis will be in keeping with a graduate-level seminar.
Individual Program of Courses (18 hours)
A member of the graduate faculty, typically the program director, will consult with each student about appropriate courses to include in an 18-hour individual program of study. Choices can be made from among graduate-level courses offered in the areas of the sciences, social sciences, and humanities, and in some instances, courses from other graduate programs. Independent Study courses are available in some circumstances, and up to 12 hours of appropriate work from other institutions could count toward the degree.
Capstone Experience (3-6 hours)
In addition to working with the student in developing a coherent course of study, the graduate advisor also will help the student decide on the appropriate Capstone Experience.
- Capstone Project
About midway through the program, each student who chooses this option should have proposed a project topic and have had that topic approved by the graduate advisor. The project must be of a nature to warrant six hours of graduate credit. Each project will be thoroughly evaluated and approved by at least two members of a committee consisting of the student’s thesis/project advisor and two other members of the graduate faculty. In general, the project should yield a written piece of work, although products such as artistic creations and web-based projects also may be acceptable. The project will stress problem solving and knowledge application and synthesis. Students under this option may also write and present two essays for formal examination. These essays would be similar to a more traditional master’s thesis and would normally consist of revised and expanded work from previous courses. In some instances, a thesis of significant breadth would be acceptable.
- Capstone Courses
This option consists of six hours of Capstone courses: the Capstone Elective and the required core course Capstone Graduating Seminar (LBST 610). The Capstone courses are taken in the second half of the student’s program. The Capstone Elective can be any approved 600-level LBST course.